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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Holocaust Center Adds Digital Conversion System

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Front Porch Digital (Louisville, Colo.) today announced that The South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center (Hollywood, Fla.,) has selected one of its systems to digitize interviews. The Center will use the SAMMA Solo system to migrate more than 2,200 interviews with Holocaust survivors, liberators, and rescuers from videotape to secure and stable digital formats. Once digitized, the interviews will be preserved for history as well as to be more readily available and useful to the hundreds of scholars, filmmakers, and educators who constantly request access.

"We have been collecting these irreplaceable oral interviews for 28 years," said Rositta Kenigsberg, executive vice president of the Center. "Many times, before the interview begins, the Holocaust survivors let us know that this is the first time they are telling their stories and telling them on camera. We have tried ‘Band-Aid' solutions for moving the precious eyewitness accounts from one videotape format to another, but this was always only an interim solution. Historians, scholars, teachers, students, and especially the families of the survivors are waiting for these stories."

Front Porch Digital's SAMMA Solo is a semi-automated, real-time analog-to-digital file migration system. Because it automates repetitive processes and uses advanced signal analysis to perform evaluation, monitoring, and documentation, the SAMMA Solo is an ideal solution for an organization like the South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, which has a modest budget and a small staff but a large, one-of-a-kind video archive. In fact, the Center plans to employ college students earning work-study money to run the system.

Front Porch delivered a SAMMA Solo with a multiformat encoder as well as a JPEG2000 MXF player in January, and the migration project is beginning this spring. It is estimated that it will take from 18 months to two years for the many thousands of hours of content now housed on at least three different videotape formats to be digitized. Using the SAMMA Solo to migrate the tapes will be about four times faster than if it were done manually.

"The South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center is unique not only for the size of its archive but for its quality. The standardized interviews are conducted by highly trained staff and shot in studio facilities. Over the years, many high-profile organizations, including Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation and the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., have relied on the Center's archive to support their own work," said Steve Kwartek, Front Porch Digital director of archive sales. "Now the Center has become one of several archives deploying Front Porch's SAMMA technology to save for future generations firsthand accounts of the horrors of genocide—whether it happened in Europe, Rwanda, or elsewhere. This mission, vital to civilization's future, is exactly what the SAMMA Solo was designed to accomplish."



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